A scope option for shooters with vision impairments.
While thumbing through the pages of one of the hardcopy outdoor magazines I regularly read, a full page Trijicon optics advertisement sprang from the page when I saw a reticle design example that glimmered a degree of hope for my serious vision impairment.
It’s not something I talk much about, but when my once perfect vision began to rapidly deteriorate at age 27, I took the steps to determine the cause. The diagnosis was something called Keratoconus, a condition of the cornea that deteriorates vision through a distortion of the smooth surface of the actual cornea, affecting millions of people.
The disease is not hereditary, nor is there any really good theory as to how it starts, when, or in whom it will manifest and usually goes undetected for quite some time. What is known, through my own experience, is that it can worsen and then suddenly stabilize for an undetermined length of time before deteriorating further. Laser surgery is not an option for Keratoconus, only a cornea transplant when the diagnosis becomes severe enough to warrant the procedure. At age 42, my vision is that of someone who is restricted from night driving and marginal for daylight driving, so you can imagine the impact it potentially has on the use of optics for an avid outdoorsman, photographer and hunter.
When I look through any conventional rifle scope I see a crosshair instantly as any normal set of eyes would see. However, within the next few seconds the crosshairs split into a duel crosshair, both vertically and horizontally, letting you wondering which to believe to be correct. This adds incredible concern when trying to do exact shot placement and not wound an animal. It has handicapped (there I said it) me to only “acceptable” margins of accuracy at best. No longer have I been able to shoot the way I did during my years in law enforcement where I routinely shot within the sharp-shooter to expert category.
So, long has been my search for a scope that may give me back some exacting ability. I have handled many scopes in gun stores and at tradeshows with only a select few scopes that (costing closer to $2,000 than a few hundred) did not have the ‘effect’. Not to mention a full crosshair configuration has an almost claustrophobic affect with the condition when looking through a scope. The scene feels too full and busy and the sight picture becomes secondary to the crosshair.
When I saw the design of the AccuPoint with a single narrow post design and a small red triangle at the pinnacle, I was intrigued to say the least. I made contact with Trijicon to discuss a field test of the scope for a review by a shooter with a severe stigmatism like that of Keratoconus. Trijicon obliged and the scope arrived a short time later. Immediately noticeable is the very impressive packaging and complete manual and owner information contained that rivals that of a digital point and shoot camera. Also notable was the allegiance that has been formed with the NRA by Trijicon, with the literature and discount membership offer supplied.
The scope was mounted on a Weatherby Vanguard 30-06, as a standard caliber for most North American big game animals, and in my opinion a basic and popular caliber. A series of rounds were passed through in getting the scope on paper at 25 yards before bringing it to the real test at 100 yards. The task was in looking for a clear and much smaller sight picture of the target that my eyes could handle.
It was immediately noticeable how effectively the AccuPoint gathers light for the full frame of the reticle. The red triangle illuminates and/or the illumination dissipates with incredible speed when the lighting conditions dictate. In full sunlight the triangle appears to have no illumination, yet when the site picture is put into a shaded area, the triangle illuminates with a crisp edge. This was also a concern as keratoconus makes lighted objects appear to have a halo effect. That effect, if present, could be somewhat hindering as the edges would blur in the halo. The triangle however, remained clear and crisp.
Now with the sight picture as clean and crisp as it is with the AccuPoint red post design, I am able to clearly see the full target at 100 yards without my eye condition perceiving the sight picture as “busy”. The red triangle is firmly determining where my shot placement will align and stay without splitting like the conventional crosshair effect I was getting. I can once again shoot with a more precise accuracy and be able to talk about things like shot grouping again. I am able to successfully keep within a 1” diameter, three shot grouping with consumer grade 150gr. Core lock ammunition.
The technology seems to rest in the combination of the self-luminous tritium and the fiber optic light collector. It allows, without the use of batteries, the ambient light to dictate the needed intensity of the illumination of the red triangle. However the scope can be manipulated manually for prevailing conditions as desired. From the box, the scope takes on the appearance of being smart enough to know that the shooter may be in total shade and the target in bright sun light and it compensates accordingly.
While the red post design is only one configuration of self illuminating designs in the AccuPoint lineup, the scope is designed to meet most any desired configuration you could want. The aircraft aluminum body lends durability and safety to the tritium component of the scope and safe handling instructions are provided for the event of damage.
Available in ten different combinations and designs, the AccuPoint is cutting edge technology for precision and low light shooting.
Knowing that the sight picture was more than adequate on a bench rest, the challenge of acquiring a target fast was the remaining test.
Conventional scopes have always hindered quick acquisition with keratoconus, especially at any significant magnification. To create a target acquisition and really put the process through the paces, the use of a running deer target would be the answer. A three shot sequence on a moving target crossing an area of around 100 feet at the pace of a running deer. Using a bolt action rifle, the sight picture would need to be acquired and reacquired three times during the shoot. At approximately 100 yards with the scope set at 6 power, the target was easily acquired all three times allowing plenty of time for the three shots to take place. The clear and bright reticle and the illuminated triangle allowed a crisp sight picture immediately upon bringing the rifle to the shoulder.
In a five star rating system this scope would carry a definite full house for design, craftsmanship, quality and value. It is a pricey unit for my blood, but a far cry from the $2,000 units I needed to look at in the past. The Trijicon AccuPoint can be found at around the $700 mark, give or take, based on your ability to search for deals.
I am guessing that the R&D team at Trijicon, during the design of the AccuPoint, was not thinking of Keratoconus or maybe even other forms of eye conditions, but they hit a home run. These conditions that have limited folks like me in the past from the confidence and enjoyment of hunting and shooting are dealt with through the AccuPoint design. It has brought back something I thought may be gone forever, accuracy and a scope I can confidently hunt with. If this scope works for me, it should work for almost anyone and I encourage those with vision problems to explore the unit and make your own observations.
Specifications: From Trijicon
Objective Size 40
Bullet Drop Compensator No
Length (in) 12.40
Weight (oz) 13.40
Illumination source Fiber Optics & Tritium
Reticle Pattern Triangle
Day Reticle Color Red
Night Reticle Color Red
Bindon Aiming Concept Y
Eye Relief (in) 3.6 to 3.2
Exit Pupil (mm) 13.3 to 4.4
Field of View (°) 6.45 to 2.15
Field of View @ 100yrds (ft) 33.8 to 11.3
Adjustment @ 100 yds (clicks/in) 4
Tube Size 1 in
Mount On/Comes With N/A
Housing Material 6061-T6 aluminum, hard coat anodized per MIL-A-8625, Type III, Class 2 dull & non reflective
49385 Shafer Avenue
P.O. Box 930059
Wixom, MI 48393 USA
Phone: (248) 960-7700
Fax: (248) 960-7725
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